Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Explanation, Prediction, Causation – An Unholy Trinity? Appreciative Comments on The Philosophy and Methods of Political Science

Abstract : In this short but critical appreciation of Keith Dowding’s seminal Philosophy and Methods in Political Science I reflect on the distinctive treatment of both realism and explanation in contemporary political science that its author offers, expressing rather more sympathy for the former than the latter. I welcome his critique of the use and misuse of ‘isms’ in much of the existing literature, while pointing to some potential inconsistencies; I accept his broad and inclusive understanding of philosophic realism; and I praise Dowding for putting the question of explanation – and its adequacy – at the heart of the philosophy of political science (where I think it belongs). Yet I reject the idea that prediction is, or indeed, should be central to all social scientific explanation. Similarly, I take issue with the contention that we are typically distracted by questions of causation, suggesting that the presentation of a ‘credibly causal’ narrative is the crux of adjudicating good from bad explanation. I explore the implications of such a position and conclude with comments on Dowding’s call for the reproducibility and transparency of data.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01523948
Contributor : Spire Sciences Po Institutional Repository Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 11:44:29 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 1:59:53 PM

Identifiers

Collections

`

Citation

Colin Hay. Explanation, Prediction, Causation – An Unholy Trinity? Appreciative Comments on The Philosophy and Methods of Political Science. Political Studies Review, Wiley, 2017, 15 (2), pp.180 - 186. ⟨hal-01523948⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

144